Racing through countries is not a concept new to voyagers, but actually racing in the country was a first for 23 members of the Fall 2014 shipboard community.
Setting out on a journey to the small town of Moone, about an hour outside of Dublin, students ran the fifth annual Moone 10K through the countryside of Ireland. With panoramas straight out of an Irish fairytale, the challenge of rolling hills could be ignored for a peek at the picturesque scenery outside the city. A castle, green meadows, and blue skies were just a handful of the charming features witnessed along the route. Some students were so taken by the beauty that they ran the entire race with cameras in hand. One such racer was Dylan Castagno, student from the University of Houston, who found the Moone 10K to be very different from his previous organized runs. ‚ÄúIt was the most peaceful race I‚Äôve ever done. There were cows grazing and massive amounts of sheep,‚Äù said Castagno.
All funds raised from the race went to benefit the Barretstown, Our Lady‚Äôs Children‚Äôs Hospital, and Moone National School, all local children‚Äôs charities. Independently organized by teaching assistant Jacqueline Welch, the group sought for a different view of Ireland during their integration into the local Irish community. ‚ÄúThis was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to get the small town experience and was trying to get that connection with locals,‚Äù said Welch. She herself had never run a race before this 10K but had been a spectator and supporter at many of her sons‚Äô races. Her passion to make this her first race was contagious for many students looking for their inaugural competitive running experience.
Another first time racer, Emily Fraser, from the University of San Diego, signed up for the race on a whim during what she deemed her five seconds of courage. ‚ÄúThat last 100 meters you all of a sudden had energy you didn‚Äôt know you had, and you felt the camaraderie of everyone there,‚Äù added Fraser.
Cheers while crossing the finish line were not the end of Moone‚Äôs support for the runners. Hosting the approximate 400 finishers with homemade sandwiches, desserts, coffee, and tea, all runners had the opportunity to mingle with their fellow athletes. University of Virginia student and former marathon runner, Lauren Stapleton, was excited to see what racing in Ireland was like and was able to meet other runners. ‚ÄúIt was such a cool atmosphere. Just getting to interact with people was amazing,‚Äù she said. ‚ÄúRunning is such a universal thing.‚Äù